Google's Chrome OS Set to Revolutionize Netbooks

Dennis Faas's picture

Recently Google announced its Chrome operating system for netbooks, the mini laptops that have revolutionized computing in this pesky recession of ours. The slim, streamlined OS is intended to help the performance of these tiny systems, and it could solidify the search giant's place in the software universe.

It's safe to say that netbooks are here to stay. Initially dismissed as PC-inspired toys that couldn't possibly replace more powerful 15.4" or 14" laptops, these systems, made by titanic hardware producers like Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Acer, have cemented their place in the tech world. That's because they really do a great job for what's asked of them -- just the basics, like Internet surfing, word processing, and rudimentary multimedia functionality.

Netbooks Here to Stay, but is Windows?

The numbers say everything: according to IDC, netbooks now make up 15 per cent of the portably computer market. Expect that to grow as the recession intensifies.

Up until today, Microsoft had, as you might expect, dominated this market. Almost all netbooks come equipped with either Windows XP or Windows Vista. Soon many will ship with Windows 7. However, there are plenty of concerns that Win7 will simply be too bulky for these machines that rely on relatively underpowered Atom processors -- after all, Vista proved too much for HP's first wave of Mini netbooks. (Source:

Google promises that its Chrome OS, unlike Windows 7, will be tailored for netbooks. That means less graphical flair and better performance. However, critics are concerned: some believe the slimmer operating system will have compatibility problems with important programs like Microsoft Office or Apple's iTunes.

Chrome OS Promises Cheaper Netbooks

Google will need to address that before the Chrome OS launches, but for now things are looking up. Why? Because Chrome OS prices are looking down. According to reports, if a user signs on for the Google OS and avoids the Microsoft Corp. OS system fees, they could knock as much as $50 off the total price of the netbook. Given that most of these machines retail for around $300-$500, that means big savings.

No one knows for sure when the Google Chrome OS will ship, but estimates peg it at around fall 2010. Given that this is the same period many economists have picked for the recession's climax, it could be a very lucrative 'window' indeed -- no pun intended. (Source:

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